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A College Student's Guide to Long Distance Relationships

Long-distance relationships are hard, especially in college. Many college students in romantic relationships are able to see their partner nearly every day, as they are as close as a dorm room away. But, especially with the commitments of being a busy college student, long-distance relationships can become difficult to maintain. I’ve been in two long-distance relationships: one that went pretty badly and one that I am happy to say is going pretty well. Relationships, of course, are based on a lot of factors, but here are the "do's and don't's" of facing the distance:

DO: Make time to chat.

Talk! To! Each! Other!!! As busy college students, it can become difficult to find the time to simply talk to your partner. Don’t let your relationship fall as a priority if you are truly striving to make it work. Call each other while doing homework or laundry! Talk about anything: your emotions, your goals, what you had for lunch today...

DON'T: Only text.

Texting can easily become dry and uninteresting, even with a strong relationship. Seeing words from your partner on your phone screen is not nearly as good as hearing their voice or seeing them smile. Find time to call or video chat during the week; schedule a routine time if you need to!

DO: Find activities to do together while separated.

Phone calls and video chats are also great for doing activities together, even when you’re separated. Cook a meal while on the phone, or play an online video game together while you talk. You can even watch movies or television shows together with websites like Kast and Gaze.

DON’T: Avoid important discussions.

Communication is SO important in long-distance relationships. If you’re feeling disconnected from each other or something is worrying you, talk to each other! Address any jealousy that may arise, and talk about ways you could work together to improve your relationship if needed. Putting off these discussions only leads to increased tensions.

DO: Try to visit often.

“Long-distance” can refer to anywhere between an hour to a country of distance away. So, visitation opportunities vary from couple to couple. Visit each other as often as your schedules allow, and plan date activities in advance to make the most of your time together. Make visits a priority if you are able to do so, even if it means moving around some other things on your weekend schedule.

Don’t: Only focus on your relationship.

However, remember that your relationship is NOT your number one priority. It is an important part of your life, but education has to come first; that’s why you’re at college!

DO: Be virtually intimate.

This one can be a bit… awkward, especially at first. Being sexually intimate with your partner over the phone offers that same sense of physical pleasure and trusting exposure that intercourse with someone you love provides. Don’t be afraid to do some research about how you and your partner can share virtual sexual experiences in a way that is comfortable for both of you.

DON’T: Expect perfection.

Even for the most “perfect” couples, long-distance relationships are never easy. It’s okay to miss each other and to be sad sometimes, and there will be bumps in the road. As long as you and your partner work together to address them in a healthy manner and with open communication, everything will be okay.

Do: Make each other feel loved.

I’ve preached about the love languages before, and I’ll do it again! There are five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Everyone has one or two love languages that best describe how they prefer to be shown affection. For example, my love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation, so simply cuddling when visiting my boyfriend and saying “I love you” frequently when we’re apart is important to me. Using my boyfriend’s love languages, I can also make sure that he knows how much I care for him in a way that suits his needs and wants. Take the love languages quiz for free here!

Don’t: Fear a break-up.

I used to fear the end of my first long-distance relationship; I worried that the distance would bring our love to an end before we were ready. It’s alright to be a bit concerned about your relationship with your partner, but don’t let it overshadow the great experiences you two have shared and continue to share. Stay positive and enjoy your time together, even if the relationship doesn’t end up working out.